ESG Agenda: 99% employees expect their employers to become more sustainable
Sustainability strategies and goals are a clear priority for India executives.
Employees want to work for companies that reflect their personal values and an overwhelming 99% of employees in India expect their employer to pursue a sustainability agenda that balances financial results with social issues, diversity/equity, and environmental impact, reveals Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends study.
In response, one clear shift is visible in moving from intent to action on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) – for example, accounting for diverse circumstances in redesigned policies or tailoring for a multi-generational workforce.
As per the study over one-third of employees value an organisation's brand and reputation and equal career progression opportunities, citing it as the #2 reason for joining their current employer (after job security). Organisations that walk the talk on their core values – through company purpose, work standards, and investment strategies – will better relate with their stakeholders and be better positioned to deliver business.
Workforce upskilling/reskilling topmost priority for India HR Inc.
Amidst the overall workforce challenges executives in India Inc. are concerned about this year, including talent acquisition, employee engagement, employee sickness and productivity – they are prioritising in workforce upskilling and reskilling, says the Mercer study, highlighting that difficulty hiring the right talent, at the right price, in time remains a top concern (71%) in 2022.
In response, companies are reshaping talent strategies focusing more on internal talent marketplaces and leveraging the gig economy (42%).
Companies advancing on this objective have been investing in targeted learning programs and offering internal gig experiences to bridge skill gaps. What they are grappling with however, is to scale in a sustainable manner. Meanwhile employees are struggling to find time to learn a new skill (36%).
“Resetting the skills agenda to meet both current and future talent needs will ensure people are, and remain, employable. Harnessing AI and technology will be a critical factor in designing and driving skills-based talent practices at scale”, said Padma Ramanathan, country report lead and Principal - Talent Advisory, Mercer.
“In an employee-centric labour market, where the majority of employees want choice, we are seeing organisations wanting to partner with employees to co-create work models based on where/when/how employees want to work and rethink pay and benefit strategies customised to target populations,” she added.
Partnerships for choice and flexibility
People no longer want to work for a company, they want to work with a company.
Nearly all executives say we are in an employee-centric labour market and 82% of HR professionals are predicting higher than normal turnover this year – most notably with regard to younger workers and those in the digital space. Relatable organisations see the value in ‘partnering’ over ‘leading’ as evidenced in evolving ‘return-to-work’ strategies.
74% of employees would join a company only if they can work remotely or in a hybrid engagement. More than half of HR leaders cite flexibility as a key lever for sourcing, attracting and retaining a diverse talent pool and a similar majority believe that they can build cultures and practices that are adaptive by design to cater to a flexible model.
“Respecting individual choice, and treating employees as equal stakeholders in designing work and workplace is at the heart of “working with the company”. At the same time, ensuring employees feel the choice is fair and equitable to all work groups will be key to success,” said Shanthi Naresh, partner & India Career Business leader, Mercer.
Nurturing well-being and enabling to thrive
The pandemic exposed and worsened the health and wealth gaps for different populations, underscoring that accessibility and affordability of care is not enough.
A staggering 85% of respondents report risk of burnout at work in the next 12 months, compounded by feeling insufficiently rewarded for efforts. But over three out of four employees cite they are thriving at their current role/organisation, primarily due to feeling valued, having meaningful work and working in an organization that supports a healthy lifestyle.
Nurturing physical, mental and financial well-being through benefits that matter and showing purpose in value proposition remain in focus. Executives agree that along with skills, well-being would deliver the biggest ROI.
Transforming for a ‘balanced’ future of work
All of India Inc. is prepped for enterprise-wide transformation.
The pandemic with acceleration of technologies, new work models and ways of working has been an enabler but has also taken its toll through ‘change fatigue and exhaustion’.
At the same time, employees are feeling optimistic about seeking a more balanced ‘future of work’. One that is redesigned to allow time for family, hobbies, work, health and learning – with working remaining an important part of life (78%). Reshaping the experience of employees around what they are viewing and valuing as a “lifestyle contract” and redesigning HR and HR processes to cater to proposed interactions is important.
“The challenge is making progress while tackling differing views on the future of work. Companies that are advancing better are those reflecting their values more visibly, listening intently and working closely with multiple stakeholders, using data driven decisions for action with empathy and transforming in a manner, that is human, relatable, and ultimately sustainable,” said Ramanathan
The seventh edition of Mercer’s Global Talent Trends Study brings together the voices of nearly 11,000 C-suite executives, HR leaders and employees representing 16 geographies and 13 industries.